OSMO is Out-of-this-World!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 No comments
Planet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System
Hello Friends!
Have you seen or used an Osmo?
If you already own one, I am sure you LOVE it!
If not, read on to find out why I LOVE it for my students.

Osmo provides hands-on materials to use with your iPad.  The students really enjoy the variety of games you can purchase to go with the Osmo.

Here are some of my students using the tangrams! They are really excited to make the tangrams match the screen. Once they match it correctly they will receive a check mark. 
Planet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, TangramsPlanet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, Tangrams

Planet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, TangramsPlanet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, Tangrams

Planet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, TangramsPlanet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, Tangrams
Here is a short video on the tangrams:

One of our little boys LOVES the coding so much and he asks to use it daily! He really enjoys creating codes and he is beginning to understand coding so much better because of the system!
Planet Happy Smiles, Osmo Learning System, Tangrams
Here is a short video on how the coding game works:
I purchased the Osmo Genius Kit for the variety it offers. It has several games I use in the classroom.
Here are a few of the sets I have found to be fun and students are very engaged with them!
(Affiliate Links)

*Note: We do receive any compensation from Osmo.  We just love their products!

We hope you LOVE Osmo as much as we do!
Happy Teaching!

Planet Happy Smiles

Earth Day: A Time To Plant A Seed

Saturday, April 1, 2017 No comments
Wanting to teach about Earth Day, but don't know where to get started? First, don't just jump on the bandwagon without knowing a little bit about how Earth Day came to be...

Earth Day...How did this "holiday" even get started? The book that inspired Earth Day was the Silent Spring written by Rachel Carson which dealt with the state of the environment and what was happening to our air, water, forests, and animals.  Earth Day is the  largest secular holiday which beats Valentines Day and Halloween! 

1969...the year I was born...yes I am getting up there... people were getting really upset with what we were doing to our environment from the use of  DDT which significantly impacted the Eagle population to the pollution of our water ways caused by the dumping of chemicals into our rivers, lakes, streams  from factories around the country. 

The worst oil spill of the time occurred in 1969 as well. Senator Gaylord Nelson from my state of Wisconsin started taking a look at ways we could teach others about what we were doing to our environment. Our significant impact on the Earth from population growth to climate change continues to be a problem both politically and environmentally, but how can we continue to help our future generations learn about the importance of saving our Earth, going green, recycling, growing gardens, appreciating nature...without causing other issues? 

On April 22nd, 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated.  Teach in's were used to help educate others on what impact we have on the Earth is and what the devastating impact Earth faces if we continue down this path. Grass roots levels organized to help the cause in 1970 with  over 20 million Americans celebrated Earth Day that first year!   The Environmental Protection Agency was created which  laid  the groundwork for the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act to name a few. 

How can we take what they did back in 1970 and teach our students that they can make a difference just by the choices they make? We want to help our students learn about the environment and we care about our world so that we all  can make good choices for our future! 

Here are three simple ideas:

1. Show a song or video. Then have them write about what they heard. This simple song is about 8 principles for a better world! Respecting and caring for ALL living things from trees to seeds, animals big and small...a great message!

2. Have students go outside and just take in their environment! Draw what they see. Write down what living things they can observe. 

This one one of my favorite outings! Sitting and taking it all in until you just need to share with the teacher what you saw!!!! I love her excitement as she is ready to tell me her observations!

3. Have them connect with an activity about sustainability or going green!

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Building a wind turbine can be complex or simple. Differentiating to meet your level of comfort is key. As an energy certified teacher, I made a wind turbine that can be tested after the students create their fans. You can produce wind powered cars...solar ovens, sun dials...All it takes though is planting that seed!

Taking the time to teach about Earth Day can come from a book, a video, a quick writing prompt or even a STEM project, but the important thing is that we are teaching our students to be stewards of the Earth and that EACH day can be EARTH day!  

Interested in any of the Earth Day challenges? Check out my Earth Day Resources HERE!

Oobleck Time...Let's Read and Experiment With Science

Friday, February 24, 2017 No comments
It is almost time for Read Across America! Time for reading...and science! Time for Oobleck! This simple science activity is sure to get them excited about both! I am so thrilled to share one of my favorite lessons that works perfectly with my FOSS Solids and Liquids Unit. We spend a lot of time trying to add engaging activities to our school day and  this one seems to really surprise and amaze my students. The book Oobleck is a fun Dr. Suess book that links science into your classroom!

Fun with Non-Newtonian Fluids!

Here is my hour long lesson plan...
1. We start with the characteristics of a solid and a liquid
2. I then share with them that today we are going to learn about something that acts like a liquid and a solid. I then share with them it is all because of King Derwin of Didd. I then share with them the book. It is a long book...but reading it and changing your voice keeps them engaged!
3. We then use the the Oobleck sheet that has them see how Oobleck acts...Is it a solid or liquid?
4. We continue our experiments with five objects that either sink or stay on the top. The students are amazed as to how it acts.
5. We wrap up by writing the recipe for Oobleck and understand a non-Newtonian fluid by filling in the blanks.
6. I they get done early I have them add to our classroom graph...Do You Like Oobleck?

 I have each table set up before they come in and they meet me at the carpet for the intro and book. This helps when my time is limited...

You can find my OOBLECK TPT Pack Here!

How do you celebrate? This next week I get to dress in a mascot costume from our local baseball team as a guest reader! We are also doing a read-a-thon to raise money for our all school...in school carnival at the end of the year! Would love to hear how you celebrate!

Google Can Be Snow Much Fun!

Sunday, January 29, 2017 No comments
In the time of the digital age...where everyone of my 400 students that I teach comes to me with an iPad...I needed to figure out how to use them and FAST! Should I use Google Classroom? Does my district expect me to use a certain app. My district's expectations is that I use Explain Everything and put many of my ideas and lessons into itsLearning.

Here my kiddos are using Explain Everything and a resources sheet I made. They can make it interactive by adding videos, voice recordings, pictures, and words!
In your own classroom, I can just see it...you might have each child able to use a Chromebook...go to the computer lab...or have their own device for them to work with! The learning curve is HUGE! I have an amazing team of specialists that help each other and so as a team we have been able to figure this out together!

There are lots of great ideas to help you with this process. Whether it is unit for science...a reading activity that can be used from Google Classroom...even a great Math interactive for your computers...check out #nogoogleprep on TPT!

Here, one of my 3rd graders is reviewing her video as she just experimented with water on a slope and different water drop sizes. She is able to process what she just observed and then share out! It sure helps my students to be able to see what they just did...then process it more than once. Then...we can go back to it the next time we have science and they can recall!

Check out the many teachers ready to share what they have learned...

Search #noprepgoogle on TPT today!

New Year, New You

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1 comment
This year I have had many firsts.  Some of these firsts include fist time building a house (still under construction), first time sending my own child to Kindergarten, first time looping, and first time teaching first grade.  When starting out the school year I spent numerous house searching TPT to see "what I should be teaching."  I scoured Pinterest, talked to my new teammates, and reflected on my teaching beliefs.  After a summer of moving classrooms, packing up all my Kindergarten materials and eventually setting up my classroom, it was time for me to figure out my curriculum.  For the first time in a long time I had to think about where to start, what to teach, and how to teach it.  To be honest I was completely overwhelmed.

I did what we all do, I started the school year.  I am a very sequential and organized person, and the feeling of grabbing at straws became my norm this year.  This for me, meant chaos, and I do not like chaos.  I felt like I was letting my kiddos down.  So over winter break, I took back my organized ways and began "planning the year."  I started by using a template that allowed me to look at each week and each subject or area I wanted to have planned out.  I am not going to lie, this was a HUGE undertaking, but has so far panned out and has saved me hours of planning.

So, you may be asking yourself, "where do I start?"  Well, this is where I started....I began by looking at the standards (I know not very exciting-but useful).  I looked at one strand and began thinking about the first half of the year.  I asked myself, "What did my Kiddos enter first grade knowing?" (I also used my many year of teaching Kindergarten to knowing the standards to help with this question).  I then wrote each of the components on individual (small) post-it notes.  I then began placing them in what I thought was a chronological order (I saw thought because I changed it many times until it all made sense).  I then repeated this for all the strands in all the content areas. (Remember when I said it was HUGE undertaking???)

Once all the post-its were completed I began writing them in on the Scope Planner Template.  To help me with this, I looked at holidays, breaks, and assessments schedules.  I then altered the post-it notes to fit.  

Once I filled out the content areas on the scope, I went back to fill out center themes, song and poems for the weeks, and the best thing on there....Assessments!  I made a column for formal assessments and informal assessments.  I did this because, no matter how organized I was, assessment time ALWAYS snuck up on me.  I was always scrambling to make copies, organize my assessment piles all while continuing to teach.  This year, since I added these to my scope, I know what I am testing on what week, and because I have it all scheduled out, I do not miss an assessment nor do I scramble last minute.  

This leads me to the last part of the "New Year, New Me" plan.  I took all the files that matched my scope (assessments and all) and placed them into a large binder with tabs that correspond to the weeks on my scope.  I have a volunteer come in once a week to make copies for me, so all I have to do is open my binder, pull the paper out, and voila! My next week is prepped (I just have small things to prep along with reading and math groups each week)!

If you are ready, or even if you are not, I have uploaded a template that you can use to wither start a similar process that I did, or just to track what you have done are are going to do from now on.  

{You can get the template here}

I encourage you to find something that you can do for you.  By me creating the scope, I feel like I am able to spend more time with family and have been able to relax!!!

What are you going to do in the new year to help you?  Please comment below with ideas or motivation for others!